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India’s fury at ‘grotesque’ IPL as millionaire cricketers play in Delhi next to Covid hospital


India has reacted with fury at the IPL’s ‘grotesque’ decision to continue playing in Delhi, despite the city being ravaged by a horrific new wave of Covid-19, with deaths mounting and their healthcare system on the brink of collapse.

As hundreds scramble around the city desperately searching for hospital beds and many turn to witch doctors in a bid to survive the pandemic, the likes of Jos Buttler and Indian stars Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah took to the field on Thursday.

Rajasthan Royals against the Mumbai Indians is the latest IPL clash to take place at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in the middle of Delhi, with ‘tone-deaf’ officials continuing to plough on with the season despite the pandemic.

Incredibly, the cricket venue being used is directly opposite Delhi’s largest Covid hospital – LNJP – which just days ago was reported to have just 2 hours of oxygen supply left and is forcing patients to share beds. 

IPL cricket is being played at a stadium directly opposite Delhi's main Covid hospital, the LNJP, which is struggling to cope

IPL cricket is being played at a stadium directly opposite Delhi’s main Covid hospital, the LNJP, which is struggling to cope

Covid patients sharing a bed at the hospital opposite the cricket ground are given oxygen as they fight for their lives

Covid patients sharing a bed at the hospital opposite the cricket ground are given oxygen as they fight for their lives

Delhi has been ravaged by a new wave of Covid-10, with bodies piling up in the streets and deaths spiralling out of control

Delhi has been ravaged by a new wave of Covid-10, with bodies piling up in the streets and deaths spiralling out of control

A man runs past funeral pyres in the city's Gazipur crematorium after 3,645 death were recorded across India in last 24 hours

A man runs past funeral pyres in the city’s Gazipur crematorium after 3,645 death were recorded across India in last 24 hours

Fans have slammed the decision to continue with the Indian Premier League cricket despite the Covid crisis in Delhi

Fans have slammed the decision to continue with the Indian Premier League cricket despite the Covid crisis in Delhi

India’s Covid crisis shows no sign of slowing with 379,257 new cases and 3,645 new deaths in the last 24 hours, both record tolls, and Delhi is the epicentre of the virus in the country. 

One editor, writing for Indian digital news service Scroll.in, labelled the IPL a ‘grotesque spectacle’ this week, with cricketers continuing to live and work in their biosecure bubble away from the reality of Covid in the city.

Pressure is continuing to mount on the cricket authorities to suspend the season, with many fans arguing that the stadium should be used in the Covid relief efforts rather than for sport. 

Thursday’s match saw both Chris Morris and Sharma in action, two of the IPL’s biggest earners with the former on £1.6million a year and the latter earning £1.5m. 

A senior official for The Board of Control for Cricket in India, though, has insisted that the IPL is providing much-needed relief during the country’s toughest times. 

‘It’s probably more important now to hold IPL, when there is so much negativity around,’ the official said, as reported by The Guardian. 

‘We should not underestimate the power of sport to spread positivity. At least fans are absorbed in it at home. Otherwise many of them will step out without masks. 

Rajasthan Royals took on the Mumbai Indians on Thursday, inside their Indian Premier League Covid-secure bubble

Rajasthan Royals took on the Mumbai Indians on Thursday, inside their Indian Premier League Covid-secure bubble

A mass cremation is prepared in Delhi as the victims continue to rise in the latest Covid wave that has gripped the country

A mass cremation is prepared in Delhi as the victims continue to rise in the latest Covid wave that has gripped the country

Another cricket fan asked if India was 'out of its mind' as they continue with the season despite the off-field chaos in India

Another cricket fan asked if India was ‘out of its mind’ as they continue with the season despite the off-field chaos in India

Other fans have questioned the decision to carry on with IPL in the face of the Covid crisis, asking 'Does this make any sense?'

Other fans have questioned the decision to carry on with IPL in the face of the Covid crisis, asking ‘Does this make any sense?’

While people are dying on the roadside, millionaire cricketers are still playing in the IPL every day throughout April and May

While people are dying on the roadside, millionaire cricketers are still playing in the IPL every day throughout April and May

India's seven-day average Covid cases show a huge spike in April

India's seven-day average Covid deaths are also on the up and only getting worse

India reported 379,257 new Covid cases today, pushing its seven-day average to 350,000 (left), while another 3,645 deaths were logged as the pandemic continues to worsen

FC GOA’S FOREIGN CONTINGENT TO RETURN HOME

FC Goa’s foreign football players and head coach will cut short their Asian Champions League stints to return home amid the country’s Covid crisis.

Captain Edu Bedia, defender Ivan Gonzalez, midfielder Jorge Ortiz, head coach Juan Ferrando and conditioning coach Javi Gonzalez – all Spaniards – plus Australia’s James Donachie are among the contingent leaving India over fears that further delays could result in them being locked down in the country. 

‘The league generates considerable money for the economy. It has to be seen from that context, too. How does stopping IPL help?’ 

Outside Delhi, meanwhile, Indians are turning to witch doctors who are branding them with hot irons in a vain attempt to cure Covid as the infection spreads from urban centres to rural villages where healthcare is often non-existent. 

Dr Ashita Singh, head of medicine at Chinchpada Christian Hospital in a remote part of Maharashtra state which houses the infection epicenter of Mumbai, said she is seeing increasing numbers of patients arriving with branding marks given to them by witch doctors to drive out ‘spirits’ they believe cause the infection. 

Others rely on herbal cures while some have fled their villages out of fear of demons which they believe are spreading the disease, which is helping the infection to spread further and faster.

India’s overall Covid death toll is now officially well over 200,000 – the world’s fourth highest after the US, Brazil and Mexico – but investigations suggest the true death toll could be double that.

This is due to the official figure only including those who die in hospitals – which are currently overwhelmed, leaving patients to die at home or in the streets.

Cricket fans, meanwhile, have been left furious at the news that IPL players arriving into Delhi have separate check-in counters, and are being rushed through the airport to their bio-secure bubble.

On top of that, Scroll.in report that an ambulance is being held back from Covid-19 relief efforts to be on standby for IPL cricketers in case they suffer an injury and need treatment during a match.

In Delhi currently, it has been reported that one in three people being tested for coronavirus in the city are returning positive results, with hospitals overwhelmed and patients left to die in the streets.

While cities such as Delhi and Mumbai were early epicentres of infection, the virus has now also spread to more rural areas where it is causing havoc – as medics say people are turning to witch doctors to help them.

Dr Ashita Singh, head of medicine at Chinchpada Christian Hospital in a remote part of Maharashtra state where Mumbai is located, said she is seeing increasing numbers of patients arriving with branding marks given to them by witch doctors to drive out ‘spirits’ they believe cause the infection.

Opposite the city's largest Covid hospital, millionaire cricketers continued to play in the IPL, with an ambulance on standby

Opposite the city’s largest Covid hospital, millionaire cricketers continued to play in the IPL, with an ambulance on standby

The hospital opposite the cricket ground came within two hours of running out of oxygen this week, before supplies arrived to save the lives of hundreds of desperate patients

The hospital opposite the cricket ground came within two hours of running out of oxygen this week, before supplies arrived to save the lives of hundreds of desperate patients

Men stand outside the front gates of an oxygen refilling facility in Delhi, India on Thursday morning

Men stand outside the front gates of an oxygen refilling facility in Delhi, India on Thursday morning

A mass funeral takes place for Covid-19 victims in Delhi, following a huge surge in deaths over the last few days

A mass funeral takes place for Covid-19 victims in Delhi, following a huge surge in deaths over the last few days

Others rely on herbal cures while some have fled their villages out of fear of demons which they believe are spreading the disease, which is helping the infection to spread further and faster.

Those who do seek out help at her hospital – which is only equipped to deal with 80 patients – often come only as a last resort, she added, and are usually too sick to save. 

Speaking to Radio 4, she said: ‘[There is] a lot of dependence on indigenous medicine, in ancient beliefs.

‘We have a lot of patients who are on our wards right now who have marks on their abdomen because they first went to the witch doctor who gave them hot iron branding in the hope that the evil spirit that is supposed to be causing this illness will be exorcised.

‘[The witch doctor] is their first port of call, only a small proportion will come to the hospital, most will go to the witch doctor or the indigenous practitioner, who will give them herbal medication for their illnesses.

‘A lot of time is wasted and people come in very late and very sick, and a lot of them never come to the hospital so what we see in the hospital is really just the tip of the iceberg.’ 

A patient waits in an ambulance outside hospital in Jaipur as India's healthcare system buckles under the pressure

A patient waits in an ambulance outside hospital in Jaipur as India’s healthcare system buckles under the pressure

Bodies are lined up for cremation at a site in New Delhi on Wednesday morning after a new record death toll was announced

Bodies are lined up for cremation at a site in New Delhi on Wednesday morning after a new record death toll was announced

Australia's Adam Zampa is one of the players to pull out of the IPL over coronavirus concerns

Zampa's Royal Challengers Bangalore team-mate Kane Richardson has also flown home

A number of top players, including Adam Zampa (left) and Kane Richardson (right) have quit the Indian Premier League

Cities and states have rushed to bring in new lockdown measures as the crisis worsens, but there is still no talk of another nationwide lockdown from Prime Minister Modi – who just weeks ago was declaring ‘victory’ over the virus.

Instead, it appears India’s strategy is to try and vaccinate its way out of the crisis, with the government allowing everyone over the age of 18 to book a vaccine via a website from Wednesday.

But the site repeatedly crashed as it received 250,000 clicks per minute, while questions were asked about how quickly India can produce enough shots to cover its 1.4billion population.

On Thursday, Satyendar Jain – the health minister of Delhi which is one of the worst-affected cities – warned he has ‘no vaccines’ left and has not been given a schedule for when more are likely to be delivered.

‘We don’t have vaccines as of now. We have made requests to the company regarding vaccines, we will tell you when it comes,’ he said.

A woman suffering from Covid-19 coronavirus sits on a stretcher before being admitted in a hospital for in Allahabad

A woman suffering from Covid-19 coronavirus sits on a stretcher before being admitted in a hospital for in Allahabad

A Covid-19 patient with breathing problems lays inside an ambulance while waiting to be admitted in a hospital in Allahabad

A Covid-19 patient with breathing problems lays inside an ambulance while waiting to be admitted in a hospital in Allahabad

Until lockdowns slow the infection or enough people are vaccinated to stop the virus spreading, its is unlikely that India’s crisis will ease.

The explosion in infections, blamed in part on a new virus variant as well as mass political and religious events, has overwhelmed hospitals with dire shortages of beds, drugs and oxygen.

But the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state, Yogi Adityanath, was accused of trying to cover up the dire situation on Thursday after threatening to arrest anyone reporting a shortage of oxygen or hospital beds.

A man in the state was subsequently arrested for ‘spreading fear’ after posting online searching for an oxygen tank for his 88-year-old relative.

Despite rallies being blame as one of the causes of infection, India has pushed ahead with state elections – packing people into polling stations with little thought to social distancing.

Many in rural parts of the state failed to observe social distancing rules, with some wearing masks but others hanging them loosely on their chins or from their ears.

A crematorium worker wearing protective gloves wipes tears from the eyes of a woman who arrived with the body of her mother who died of Covid in New Delhi, India

A crematorium worker wearing protective gloves wipes tears from the eyes of a woman who arrived with the body of her mother who died of Covid in New Delhi, India

An exhausted cremation workers slumps to the ground in between shifts burning the bodies of Covid victims in Bengaluru

An exhausted cremation workers slumps to the ground in between shifts burning the bodies of Covid victims in Bengaluru

Beds are seen in an indoor stadium converted into a COVID-19 care facility in Srinagar, India

Beds are seen in an indoor stadium converted into a COVID-19 care facility in Srinagar, India



Source | DailyMail

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